roshambo etymology?

two of my co-workers and i were vying for the
last M&M during a meeting and decided to
settle it by paper, rock, scissors when
a fourth co-worker called it “roshambo”.

i never heard it called that until i came to
california. what’s the origin of roshambo?

the same guy also said his dad called it
“jun kin pun”. is this game related?

i searched the web only to find game clubs, bad
bands and references to the french general
who helped force cornwallis’ surrender, but
no explanation of “roshambo”.

Roshambo FAQ

(Do you really have a search engine that will bring back Rochambeau for roshambo?)

Oh, here’s the Home page from which the previous FAQ depends:


Since most of the linked sites are humorous, I’d guess that either the Japanese have a similar game from which some Yanks borrowed the name to be cool, or someone created the name, simply to be cool. They are clearly refering to paper/scissors/rock on the site. Britannica does not have an entry for it (although a search in Britannical brings up a Gay bookstore–doubly frustrating as a search using the store’s engine does not recognize the word, so I have no idea why EB pointed to that site).

Hmmm… I seem to remember a very different version from “rock/scissors/paper” on South Park. :smiley:

The History of Roshambo

It hangs off this site:

This site attributes the name (in a rather slapdash manner) to a corruption of French:
Roche Ambo ?

When I grew up in Hawaii we called it Jun Ken Po (japanese, apparently, for rock scissors paper). But it was played a touch differently, which would always get the haole kids in trouble.

As a note, the name is definitely not a ‘Yankee’ thing. I’m from Maine and never ever heard it called anything but Rock, Paper, Scissors until I came to California, just as the original poster stated.

Folks, look. It’s “Rock/paper/scissors”. That’s the only correct order because that’s what I grew up with. Every other order makes you seem…lesser.

Rock, paper, BRAAAAAINSS…

KRAMER & MICKEY: Rock, paper, scissors match.
MICKEY: all right, rock beats paper. (Mickey smacks Kramer on the hand for losing)
KRAMER: I thought paper covered rock?
MICKEY: Nah, rock flies right through paper.
KRAMER: What beats rock?
MICKEY: (looks at his hand) Nothing beats rock.
KRAMER: all right come on.
KRAMER & MICKEY: Rock, paper, scissors match.
KRAMER & MICKEY: Rock, paper, scissors match.

Rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock.

We started calling it roshambo in college after a friend from Korea said that’s what they called it. I think at some point the Jun Ken Po name was also introduced.

<Cartman voice> I’ll ro-sham-bo you for it ! </Cartman vioce>

I always thought it was spelled rochambeau, and was of French descent.

This has no basis in anything other than automatic baseless preconceptions, though!

You speak the truth.

Capy, if you’re still around, was it played more like strip poker? I’ve encountered that version.